Northwood University

Northwood University Founder's Garden

Midland, Michigan

The Northwood University Founder’s Garden is a commemorative expression that brings together past, present, and future elements in the landscape. With a focus on inclusive design, the garden celebrates the existing Recognition Park and expands to create a larger green space that inspires and promotes community-building and creative thinking through active and passive spaces and features.
The garden design reimagines campus connectivity and wayfinding through a network of pedestrian pathways. The previously straight north/south sidewalk corridor transformed into a dynamic, curvilinear artery that narrates the Founder’s involvement through a series of sculptures surrounded by a vibrant woodland garden. The amphitheater encourages performance, outdoor education, and interaction with concrete terraced rings directed towards an elevated stage and seating for outdoor classrooms, events, performances, and casual lounging. Adjacent to it is a revitalized Recognition Park, which serves as a focal point within the garden. The existing brick donor ramp was transformed into an inviting seat wall and planter. The surrounding lawn is a large, flexible space designed for moveable seating, campus events, and sunbathing. The perimeter of this lawn is softened by woodland-edge garden plantings and ornamental trees. To the south, a circular gathering space surrounds a sculptural gas-powered hearth- a metaphor for Northwood’s Eternal Flame with year-round availability.

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